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Daily Record
Daily Record
Nicola Roy & Adam May

Warning over Victorian disease case surge - four symptoms you must not ignore

The NHS has warned of a spike in cases of a Victorian-era disease - and there's certain symptoms to look out for.

Gout is a type of arthritis that causes extreme joint pain and swelling, and approximately 250,000 people have been admitted to hospital with the disease in 2021/22, according to the NHS.

This comes after a warning that several other Victorian diseases hit a five-year high in April, the Mirror reports.

Figures from the NHS revealed that patients in England were diagnosed with one of 13 Victorian diseases when admitted to hospital on 421,370 occasions in the year leading up to March 2022.

They include all people admitted with these illnesses, which include:

  • gout
  • tuberculosis
  • malnutrition
  • whooping cough
  • measles
  • scurvy
  • typhoid
  • scarlet fever
  • diphtheria
  • mumps
  • rickets
  • cholera
  • vitamin D deficiency - even if it wasn’t the reason why they went to hospital in the first place.

It puts the number of in-patients diagnosed with these diseases at the highest level seen since at least 2017/18, when these figures begin.

Although gout can get better if it's treated early on, it can lead to other serious illnesses like tophi if it's left untreated.

What are the symptoms of gout?

The main symptoms to look out for include:

  • Sudden severe pain in your joint (usually the big toe, hands, wrist, elbow or knees)
  • Hot skin
  • Swollen joints
  • Redness over the affected joint

Dr Alastair Dickson, a GP and trustee of the UK Gout Society, said many in the medical world still believe it's a condition caused by overconsumption, but warned that people still don't know enough about it.

"There’s a lack of awareness that it is inherently a genetic disease," he told the Mail.

NHS guidance says that an attack of gout usually lasts between five to seven days and then gets better, and it may not cause lasting joint damage if you get treatment immediately.

However, a report in the journal Lancet Regional Health - Europe in May discovered that only a small number of UK patients are given medication within a year of diagnosis.

One of the report’s authors, Dr Mark Russell, NIHR research fellow at King’s College London, told Good Health: "Without preventative treatment, flare-ups tend to become more frequent over time and can develop into a chronic arthritis that never fully settles."

What causes a gout flare-up?

Obesity has been linked to a rise in gout cases (Getty Images)

There are a couple of main causes for gout flare-ups. These can include:

  • Older age

  • Being male at birth

  • Obesity

  • Diet high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid in your body

  • Alcohol use

  • Sweetened beverages, sodas and high fructose corn syrup

  • Medications including diuretics, low dose aspirin, some antibiotics prescribed for tuberculosis, and cyclosporine

Gout attacks are usually treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) such as ibuprofen.

However, if the pain continues, you may be prescribed steroids as tablets or an injection.

How to p revent gout

Although gout is a genetically inherited disease, there are a few lifestyle changes that people can make to prevent bad flare-ups.

Some of these include include getting to a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and having alcohol-free days.

It's also recommended that you shouldn't eat offal, such as kidneys or liver, or seafood, or have lots of sugary drinks and snacks.

Fatty foods should also be avoided and you shouldn't drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, and spread your drinking over three or more days if you drink as much as this.

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